For the majority of the short story, the narrator conveys a detached resignation to the bargain on which this society rests. The child who is held in captivity is described in factual, neutral terms:
It looks about six, but actually is nearly ten. It is feeble-minded. Perhaps it was born defective, or perhaps it has become imbecile through fear, malnutrition, and neglect. It picks its nose...as it sits hunched in the corner farthest from the bucket and the two mops. It is afraid of the mops. It finds them horrible. It shuts its eyes, but it knows the mops are still standing there; and the door is locked; and nobody will come.
There is no sense of outrage or compassion in this description. Instead, the narrator merely conveys the truth of the situation.
This detached approach is also taken when describing how the community benefits from the suffering of this one child:
If it were cleaned and fed and comforted, that would be a good thing, indeed; but if it were done, in that day and hour all...
(The entire section contains 2 answers and 1098 words.)